I have stepped down as Composer-in-Residence for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. The reasons are twofold:
1) The Music Department is currently a house divided; there is a strong spirit of the Pharisee love of law over love of grace, and to be blunt, our goals do not align. Better it be a united department in which I am not involved than a house divided where Byzantine purists are at odds with choral music.
2) An incident occurred at a recent departmental meeting which has left me shocked, debilitated, violated, and has caused a very traumatic part of my past to resurface. I cannot be involved in the Music Department after something like this. For the sake of all involved, I will not say more because my aim is to seek resolution, not cause a controversy.
While this post may seem like a downer, I see it as a step forward. There is freedom now to explore the Orthodox musical traditions of other Archdiocese and cultures. I will continue to write music in both Antiochian and OCA translations for the time being, and I will continue to put out new music regularly, by God’s grace.
This has been a very dark time for me; it is one thing to hear that God uses trials to purify you, but is such a visceral experience to actually live it. My passion for new Orthodox music has been invigorated to an even greater extent, but at the same time the darkness of this trauma overshadows everything right now.
Perhaps the only step forward lies in picking up a pen, setting up my drafts of chants, harmonizations, and translations on the table, and taking it one note at a time.